For a game that%26rsquo;s all about stalking wild animals over vast landscapes like Elmer Fudd, Cabela%26rsquo;s 2009 misses the target by a mile. The environments %26ndash; from the South African Serengeti to the icy mountains of Canada %26ndash; are unsubtly channeled, so that you never really get the chance to explore any more than the developers want you to. For example, as you hunt a jaguar through an Ecuadorian jungle there are low shrubs on either side of the path that may as well be 100ft tall walls, because you can%26rsquo;t walk through or over them. Why? So you%26rsquo;re funneled toward a giant snake attack early on, that%26rsquo;s why. It should be exciting, but it really isn%26rsquo;t.
Above: The eternal struggle
There%26rsquo;s a loose storyline here too. Your mate gets mauled by a bear, and thus begins a bloody rampage of revenge against innocent animals. Your aim? To avenge his death by becoming the world%26rsquo;s number one hunter.
Your arsenal consists of a high-powered rifle for big animals such as bears, a lightweight rifle for wolves, and a handgun for, er, snakes. All of these can be upgraded with better sights, rounds and stocks for reduced recoil. The missions are a mix of straight hunts, where you use your skills to track animals, to crow-barred rescue missions involving crashed planes and avalanches. The cutscene banter between characters reaches Pinocchio levels of wooden and looks truly awful %26ndash; as does the entire game. But for all the disgusting graphics and goofy missions there%26rsquo;s fun to be had.
Cabela 2009%26rsquo;s draw comes from the pseudo-free-roaming bits. Creeping slowly through long grass, while you try to stay one step ahead of a pack of lions, creates an intense atmosphere that you just don%26rsquo;t get in other FPS games. But it%26rsquo;s the unintentional hilarity that Cabela%26rsquo;s 2009 provides that makes it bearable. Let certain animals get too close and you%26rsquo;ll launch into QTEs. As a mountain lion pounces, a quick twist left and you%26rsquo;ll bat it away.
Sadly, Cabela%26rsquo;s 2009 is a mess overall. Tracking in Hunter Sense is way too difficult because trails are tricky to find; the mission structure is disjointed; and the graphics are rougher than a bear%26rsquo;s bum. Best leave this one out in the wilderness.
Jan 15, 2009